HUD Nominee Carson to Take ‘Holistic’ Approach to Housing

Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee today, Housing and Urban Development secretary nominee Dr. Benjamin Carson said he would take a “holistic” approach to affordable housing if confirmed, noting that many factors — such as healthcare and education — must be considered when tackling issues affecting low-income Americans.

During the hearing, Carson affirmed his preference for de-regulation and his desire to bring efficiency to the department, but promised to advocate for HUD’s budget as he works to craft “a world-class plan on housing in this country.” One of his first actions if confirmed as HUD secretary would be to embark on a “listening tour” to seek feedback from regional HUD officials and consumers to understand the issues facing individuals and communities across the nation, and determine the effectiveness of various HUD initiatives, he said.

When talk turned to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Carson noted that “we do have to have a mechanism, a backstop of some type” in place, but expressed concern over excessive taxpayer liability, adding that he supports introducing more private entities into the market to reduce the exposure of taxpayers to risk. He also said that the rental assistance programs offered by HUD were “essential,” and that he would not move to abolish those programs without having an alternative in place.

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